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Rigby-Rousta Conversations: Mary Oliver’s “The Journey”

May 9, 2009

SpiritualJourneyBob Rigby is a friend and mentor to me, and someone that I have great respect for.  From time to time, I will share aspects of our relationship and conversations, which revolve entirely around “The (Spiritual) Work”.  Tonight, I spent some time reviewing correspondence that we had back in 2003, and it was very helpful.  I understand better now, than I did then, some of the things he was shedding light on for my benefit.

[Letter from Bob Rigby to Arman Rousta on 1/17/03]

Read the poem near the end of the NDS offering I sent you.  The poem is by Mary Oliver and it is on the money regarding the journey that must be taken if one is to move away from untruth to draw nearer to what is true.  The voices she refers to are the myriad voices (egos) that we all have.  One must first realize that these voices are not who or what we truly are; however if we do not become aware of these voices we will waste our precious time running from one diversion to the next always looking for what exists right under our noses.

In everyone of your letters to me I clearly see numerous voices, each with their own agenda (many of which are conflicting).  When I try to get you to see the fact that you are not speaking from one voice but many you get defensive or defend your position with yet another voice (false
representation).  If you envision waking up as being a comfortable process which will not require you to face your (false) selves and experience the pain you are kidding yourself.  If that is what you want you are better off reading best-selling spiritual books and trusting that the authors have seen the light.  I’m at the point where I can’t waste time and take other people’s version of what they think the truth is.  I’ve got to see for myself.  The $64,ooo  question is what are you going to do with your precious time?

The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice –
though the whole house began to tremble
and you felt the old tug at your ankles.

“Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers at the very foundations,
though their melancholy was terrible.

It was already late enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little, as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice which you slowly
recognized as your own, that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,
determined to do the only thing you could do–
determined to save the only life you could save.

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